What is the Kimchi Diet | Kimchi Benefits | Pros and Cons of the Kimchi Diet | Can I follow the Kimchi Diet while Intermittent Fasting? | Example Kimchi Diet Plan
Traditionally known as a side dish in Korean cuisine, Kimchi has made its way to the top superfoods of the health and fitness world. And, it may be for a good reason.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that is made from fermented cabbage and a combination of spices. Boasting an impressive nutrition profile, many have started incorporating kimchi into their everyday diets for its spicy and sour flavor profile and potential health benefits.
Recently, kimchi has become more popular as a tool for weight loss. Some have found weight loss success following a kimchi diet plan, where kimchi is the staple food of a daily diet for some time. But, is kimchi a superfood for weight loss and overall health? Keep reading below for all the answers!
In this complete guide, we’ll answer your questions about what the kimchi diet is, the pros and cons, how the kimchi diet fits with intermittent fasting, and finally an example kimchi diet plan.
What is the Kimchi Diet?
The kimchi diet is a relatively straightforward type of diet. While there isn’t a consensus on the exact formula for how much to eat or how long to stay on a kimchi diet, it’s universally accepted that kimchi is eaten at nearly every meal.
Kimchi, which has historically been a staple side dish in Korean food, has been popular for many years, especially in South Korean households.
Kimchi is made through a process called fermentation. Fermentation has been used for thousands of years as a way to preserve vegetables all year long. It involves a vegetable base with the addition of salt, sugar, and other spices such as ginger, garlic, onion, and chili to name a few. The fermentation process can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
Chinese cabbage or Napa cabbage is typically the base of kimchi. Green onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper are also used, although many variations of kimchi are region and culture-specific.
The combinations are endless as other vegetables can be used as a base such as beets, radish, cucumber, spinach, and celery. Certain spices can be used to make this spicy food even spicier. Things like sea salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce can all add to the rich flavor of kimchi. Fermented kimchi is usually how it is eaten, although some prefer raw kimchi as well.
You can easily find kimchi in most grocery stores, but you can also make your kimchi at home with ease. With just a few easy steps, making your kimchi at home allows you to customize the kimchi based on your preferences.
Just as there are many variations to the way kimchi is prepared, the kimchi diet has many variations as well. While all forms involve eating kimchi, some have used a combination of kimchi and bone broth for a daily meal over a set period.
Others follow a 14-day kimchi diet where kimchi is eaten at breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with a small portion of other foods. An example day with this type of 14-day kimchi diet could look like the following:
- Breakfast: Kimchi with scrambled eggs
- Lunch: Mixed greens salad with pumpkin seeds and tofu
- Dinner: Fried Rice with Kimchi
You may be wondering, “Can I eat kimchi to lose weight?” and the answer is, it depends!
We’ll cover the benefits of eating kimchi below, but following a kimchi diet plan could have positive effects on your body weight. As long as you are consuming even slightly fewer calories than your body needs, this will create a calorie deficit that can lead to weight loss.
However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that you still need a minimum amount of calories for your body to function properly. Balance is key when starting a weight loss journey and certain foods can help keep your body full and contain key nutrients, while other foods may hinder your progress.
The good news is kimchi can be part of a healthy diet that leads to weight loss. Keep reading below to find out some of these amazing benefits!
Benefits of Kimchi
With more and more research showing the benefits of fermented foods to overall health, there has been a renewed interest in kimchi as a health-promoting food. The benefits of good bacteria on not only our digestive health, but overall health have been a topic of interest in recent research. There have even been studies that fermented foods may even be good for our mental health by reducing anxiety. Below is a list of potential benefits of including kimchi in your diet.
Weight loss effects
While kimchi may not be the secret weapon for everyone’s weight loss journey, studies have shown that kimchi can contribute to a reduction in body weight. It’s important to remember that just because you eat kimchi, doesn’t guarantee that you will lose weight.
Many other factors contribute to weight loss including overall calorie intake, physical activity, and eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. If your diet primarily consists of processed or high-calorie foods that are over your calorie needs, then it doesn’t matter if you eat kimchi or not, it is unlikely that you are going to lose weight.
A great way to think about weight loss is by trying to create a balanced, high-fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and fiber-rich carbohydrates. This will help you to reach a healthy weight while also creating a sustainable lifestyle long term.
Kimchi, which is high in dietary fiber and low in calories, can fit into a healthy diet for someone looking to lose weight.
Improve gut health
Many of the strains of bacteria found in fermented foods are similar to those found in probiotics and may have positive effects on gut health.
Fermented foods like kimchi contain good bacteria which can improve the health of the gut microbiome through the introduction of healthy bacteria.
Kimchi has also been shown to improve certain diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome by increasing dietary fiber and reducing inflammatory cytokines.
Support immune system
There is research to support that kimchi contains immune-boosting properties, such as the beneficial bacteria, Lactobacillus plantarum.
This bacteria has antioxidant properties and keeps the immune system in check.
May improve insulin sensitivity
One study demonstrated that prediabetic participants who ate both raw and fermented kimchi saw an improvement in insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity as well as weight loss after 16 weeks of eating kimchi.
May improve blood pressure
The same study showed a reduction in blood pressure levels after eating fermented kimchi. By keeping blood pressure levels in check, this can go a long way toward heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.
Pros and Cons of the Kimchi Diet
There are many pros to the kimchi diet, mainly due to the great nutrition profile of kimchi. Kimchi contains vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C which make it a very nutrient-dense food.
It is rich in fiber and low-calorie as well, making it a perfect option to include as part of a weight loss strategy. It also contains about half of the daily value of vitamin K. As mentioned above, kimchi’s benefits range from boosting the immune system to potentially improving things like blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
There are also some cons to following the kimchi diet. Depending on which version of the kimchi diet you follow, you may not be eating enough calories that you need. This may lead to low energy levels and intense food cravings.
Kimchi also has a very specific flavor profile of spicy and sour, which may not suit everyone’s taste preferences. Additionally, eating the same food every single day can lead to burnout. The kimchi diet may not be suitable long term if you are eating the same foods for an extended period.
For example, if you are just eating kimchi and white rice for each meal, you would be missing out on essential nutrients and vitamins that come from eating a variety of foods.
Can I follow the Kimchi Diet while Intermittent Fasting?
You may be wondering whether you can follow the kimchi diet while also intermittent fasting. The simple answer is yes!
Since intermittent fasting is a schedule of when you are eating and not what you are eating, it can be combined with many other types of diets. Intermittent fasting is also a great way to lose weight, so it complements the kimchi diet in terms of additional weight loss benefits.
The benefits of the kimchi diet will likely be enhanced when combined with intermittent fasting. Here are 10 Types of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent fasting provides benefits such as:
Even though you can technically eat whatever you want while following intermittent fasting, it is recommended to eat a nutrient-rich diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates.
A good meal plan can help you stay on track with any diet that you choose and can help when following the kimchi diet as well.
Example Kimchi Diet Plan
Below, you will find a Kimchi Diet Plan that you can incorporate into your intermittent fasting schedule.
Remember, the times may vary depending on the right intermittent fasting eating schedule for you, so adjust your schedule as needed.
During your eating window:
- Breakfast – yogurt with berries
- Snack – scrambled eggs with kimchi
- Lunch – Turkey burger topped with kimchi on a whole wheat bun
- Snack – Mixed nuts with cucumbers
- Dinner- Grilled salmon with a side of brown rice topped with kimchi
During your fasting window: water, black coffee, green tea, and other zero-calorie beverages.
Conclusion – Ultimate Kimchi Diet Plan
In summary, the kimchi diet consists of mostly eating kimchi for a specific amount of time. Kimchi is a type of fermented food and research continues to show the beneficial effects that fermented foods can have on your overall health.
While kimchi is an excellent addition to any balanced diet, there are drawbacks to eating a diet limited to one or two main foods. Kimchi is a low-calorie and nutrient-dense food that has been shown to aid in weight loss efforts.
It’s important to remember to incorporate a variety of healthy foods in your diet whether you are practicing intermittent fasting, the kimchi diet, or just for overall better health.